Squamous cell lung cancer is a type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that accounts for 30% of all lung cancer cases. This cancer begins in the thin, flat squamous cells that line the inside airways of the lungs, and usually involves tumors that occur in the central part of the lung or in one of the main airways, causing symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
Squamous Cell Lung Cancer Symptoms
In the early stages, this type of lung cancer doesn’t always present symptoms and often times the symptoms gradually appear. Symptoms can be confused for other common illness or diseases. Symptoms that can occur include:
- A persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain
- Trouble Swallowing
- Loss of appetite
Diagnosing Squamous Cell Lung Cancer
Squamous cell lung cancer is diagnosed with a variety of tests that help determine the severity of the cancer. This includes imaging tests, laboratory tests and biopsies, which will help determine the stage of the lung cancer. The staging of the cancer describes where the cancer is located and where it has spread. Knowing the stage of cancer helps determine which treatment option will be best for the patient.
The staging system used is called the TNM staging system, which specifies the tumor, lymph node, and metastasis in order to stage the cancer from 0 to IV.
Biomarkers can also be helpful in diagnosis to determine targeted treatment options. Biomarker testing can determine gene mutations in a cancer than can be helpful in determining which treatment option is best to use. Mutations that are most often tested for include:
Treatment Options for Squamous Cell Lung Cancer
Treatment options will vary from patient to patient depending on the patient’s cancer stage, overall health, biomarker status, and more. Common treatment options include:
- Radiation therapy
- Angiogenesis inhibitors